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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Kirk Nahra Discusses Key Permissive Exclusion Ruling

Bloomberg BNA's Health Law Reporter
August 10, 2012

Privacy Practice chair Kirk Nahra was interviewed by Bloomberg BNA’s Health Law Reporter after a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit signaled that the federal government might become more aggressive in barring corporate executives from federal health care programs.

The article reported that “a divided appeals court panel, in Friedman v. Sebelius, agreed with the government that misdemeanor misbranding convictions, based on the responsible corporate officer doctrine (RCO), were crimes ‘relating to fraud’ that could support program exclusions by the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General.”

Mr. Nahra said the case “is simply one in a very long line of cases demonstrating how much leverage the government has” and that the ruling places defendants “in a very difficult position—some of these defendants win eventually, even as an acquittal in a criminal trial, but the risks if they lose are tremendous.  The fight against health care fraud is tremendously important.  But it’s not always clear that the balance between government power and defendant’s rights is appropriate in this context, particularly for individuals.”